FMI Applauds House Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on Legislation to Combat Organized Retail Crime

September 22, 2008
ARLINGTON, VA — September 22, 2008 — The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) praised U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, for holding a hearing on legislative solutions to the burgeoning problem of organized retail crime (ORC).

     Scott introduced the E-Fencing Enforcement Act of 2008 last month (H.R. 6713), which addresses e-fencing or reselling stolen goods over the Internet. A measure sponsored by U.S. Reps. Brad Ellsworth (D-IN) and Jim Jordan (R-OH), the Combating Organized Retail Crime Act of 2008” (H.R. 6491), calls for a comprehensive solution to ORC and the resale of stolen or fraudulently obtained merchandise through internet auction sites, flea markets, pawn shops, swap meets and shady retail storefronts. Richard Durbin (IL), the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate, introduced a companion measure to the Ellsworth-Jordan bill (S. 3434).

     “The growing congressional support for legislation to combat organized retail crime and e-fencing is critical to ensure these criminals face stiff penalties. ORC rings sweep shelves clean of infant formula, over-the-counter medicines, razors and many other products. They cross states lines and increasingly resell these products on internet auction sites that shield their identities. We need a federal law to expose and severely punish these criminals,” said John J. Motley III, FMI senior vice president of government and public affairs.

     “The most serious victims are consumers. They pay higher prices for stolen products as retailers try to recover their losses. Consumer health and safety are at risk when ORC gangs store stolen infant formula and medicines in unsafe conditions and repackage them to falsely extend expiration dates,” he said.

     Organized crime gangs steal and resell as much as $30 billion in retail products each year, according to federal authorities.

     These crimes drain state budgets as well. ORC losses cost the 46 states that have a sales tax approximately $1.6 billion each year in lost tax revenue, according to the Coalition Against Organized Retail Crime.

     For more information, visit the coalition website at

Food Marketing Institute proudly advocates on behalf of the food retail industry. FMI’s U.S. members operate nearly 40,000 retail food stores and 25,000 pharmacies, representing a combined annual sales volume of almost $770 billion. Through programs in public affairs, food safety, research, education and industry relations, FMI offers resources and provides valuable benefits to more than 1,225 food retail and wholesale member companies in the United States and around the world. FMI membership covers the spectrum of diverse venues where food is sold, including single owner grocery stores, large multi-store supermarket chains and mixed retail stores. For more information, visit and for information regarding the FMI foundation, visit